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  • Nathan Yoder

If You're Needing an Album to...

...Fill a room with lively music while you work from home, try Leo Svirsky's River Without Banks or Emahoy Tsegue-Mayam Guebrou's addition to the Ethiopiques series. Another piano-based album, but with a few electronic embellishments, is Niklas Paschburg's Oceanic. If you appreciate piano instrumentals, but wanted to add a few string, try Bing & Ruth's No Home of the Mind or Anne Muller's Heliopause. If those are the wrong types of strings, try Nathan Salsburg's Third or Eerie Gaits' Bridge Music. And for a small tinge of the more active experimental, try Aqueduct Ensemble's Improvisations on an Apricot.

...Soundtrack your walk, either in your neighborhood or out in nature (responsibly), try North Americans' Going Steady. For something more minimalist, try Ironomi's Kotonoha (an album made for forest bathing). For additional ambiance, try r beny's Cascade Symmetry (especially you Oregonians), Jason Calhoun's Jedidiah, or Low Howl's Field Waves. If you're in Portland, but are hesitant to leave your home for fear of crowds, listen to Ernest Hood's masterpiece, Neighborhoods, and he will do the walking for you.

...Take you to a faraway place, try either of Andrew Bird's Echolocations albums. If you would rather go international, try Deltoid's excellent Terminal Terrestre (Ecuador) or Chihei Hatakeyama's Forgotten Hill (Japan). And to explore imagined spaces, try Lilien Rosarian's a day in bel bruit, which will take you to an eerie abandoned town, or Andrew Pekler's Sounds from Phantom Islands, which will take you, well, to phantom islands. If you enjoy field recordings woven into your melodies, try Lucy Claire's S/T release or Burke Jam and Marcus Fischer's Vanitas.

...Play in the background while you read, make art, or puzzle, try h hunt's Playing Piano for Dad or East Forest's Held. Other beautiful background albums include Mary Lattimore's Collected Pieces and Joanna Brouk's timelessThe Space Between. And if by this point you are sick of instrumentals and want to hear actual human voices, try Julie Byrne's Not Even Happiness or Joan Shelley's Like The River Loves The Sea. Oregonians Shelley Short (Pacific City) and Dragging an Ox Though Water (Panic Sentry) make wonderful companions as well.

...Dance to while you are cooking dinner, try O'Flynn's Aletheia. Another go-to banger is Georgia's Seeking Thrills. Blast it if you are especially sad about the postponement of Treefort, but don't worry, she's playing the makeup dates! It has been reviewed on this site already, but it bears repeating that Andras' Joyful is a dance album which will lift your spirits. Another great one is Taeko Ohnuki's classic, Sunshowers (find the Youtube rip below). If you find that city pop is your thing, try out Piper's Summer Breeze or Gentle Breeze (thanks, Light in the Attic). If bossa nova is more of your scene when it comes to dancing and food preparation, try Bola Sete's The Music of Brazil / The Guitar of Bola Sete (Volumes 1+2).

...Calm you down if you are feeling wound up, try the repetitive melodies on Botany's Fourteen 45 Tails or William Basinski's Variations for Piano and Tape. If you desire a longer set of ambient pieces, try Ben Vida's Reducing the Tempo to Zero. Another calming set of vignettes is Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Conversations With Myself. For the ultimate repetitive meditation, set Eluvium's Shuffle Drones to shuffle and loop to create an ever-changing, endless piece of music. And for albums made especially for centering, try Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga or Thomasz Bednarczyk's Music for Balance and Relaxation Vol. 1.

...Guide you into restful sleep, try Michael Stegner's Music for Sleeping in the 21st Century or Jon Hopkins' Asleep Versions. Danny Norbury's Dusk is so good as well. If you want something to run an entire night, give Max Richter's Sleep a spin. But really, one can never go wrong drifting away to Grouper's A I A: Alien Observer. Much of Liz Harris' catalogue can have such a soothing effect in a number of different contexts.


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